Book Review – Batman Heart of Hush by Paul Dini

Title: Batman Heart of Hush

Author: Paul Dini

Illustrator: Dustin Nguyen

Format: Paperback

Published: 2008

 

Hush is a character I had heard of before in the world of Batman but didn’t have a lot of experienced with. Truthfully, I didn’t know much aside from the fact that he was a mad man who did plastic surgery to make himself look exactly like Bruce Wayne. I know that he was an enemy and a nuisance to Batman on many occasions making it look like Bruce is doing something that he really wouldn’t do but at the same time he has been on some level been used to the advantage of the Bat Family, such as during the time when Batman was ‘dead’. In my Red Robin Comics it is Hush who is masquerading as Bruce which helps in some ways make things not overly obvious, but the problem in that particular comic is that he was attempting to fritter away the entirety of the Wayne and Wayne enterprises fortune. Of course this in some ways isn’t a big threat and really Hush didn’t seems like the big time villain that I am sure he is meant to be. Thus I concluded that I needed to read more of Hush and stumbled upon this particular comic.

 

In reading this comic, all I can is ay “woah”. Hush is so much more than I would have ever imagined him to be. He is dark, his is sick, he is twisted, and he is an awesome opponent to the Batman. What I love about this story is it also plays with things with Catwoman and Batman’s feelings for Catwoman and I love it and it is intense . This is certainly not a feel good comic but honestly I don’t exactly red Batman for the feel good concept. He is the Dark Knight for a reason after all! Anyway this was a good read and it has me wanting to read more stories that have Hush as a villain for Batman and thus sitting on my desk is Hush volume 1 and I am looking forward to reading it along with a lot of the other comics books I have piled up to read. In the end I would give this book a 4 out of 5 pages and if you are looking for a fairly stand alone dark comic to read, this is the comic for you.

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Book Review – Robin a Hero Reborn

Title:  Robin a Hero Reborn

Author: Alan Grant, Norm Breyfogle, Steve Mitchell, Chuck Dixon, Tom Lyle and Bob Smith

Illustrators: Not Listed

Format: Paperback

Published: 1991

 

Again I have another old Robin book that has a very old school drawing to it that I admit I’m not as fond of but I suppose I can adjust.  I admit having started at the end of Robin’s Career as Tim at least the end before the new 52 (which I won’t rant on and absolutely loath), it is interesting to move to the start of Robin’s career as he is first determined to be Robin and his first acts as Robin.

 

To be honest it was kind of cool I loved how he figured out what was going on in a rather interesting mystery and then chooses to potentially sacrifice his role as Robin to be there to support Batman as Robin because he knows it is the right thing to do.  Additionally the villain who I won’t reveal for spoiler reasons was a lot of fun to read and I rather like the character and find them interesting to say the least they aren’t my all time favorite Bat Villain but interesting to say the least.

 

The story following is the story of Tim’s training and how he becomes who I love and adore and how he gets his staff weapon which I say I just love that weapon of choice.  I will say this set of comics weren’t as fun as the ones where Tim becomes Robin but it was interesting to say the least and I simply love the intelligence that Tim exhibits even in this story.  Tim’s robin is less fight and more brains and I absolutely love it.  I am always more into the brains than the brawn on any given day.

 

Overall the comic was an interesting and good read and I think I would give it a 3 out of 5 pages as it was worth of my time considering my interests but it isn’t as much of a must read.  Knowing the information is good though and helps bring life to the later Tim comics that I would always highly recommend.

Book Review – Robin Flying Solo by Chuck Dixon

Title:  Robin Flying Solo

Writer: Chuck Dixon

Illustrator: Tom Grummett, Phil Jimenez

Format: Paperback

Published: 2000

As I have expressed many times Tim Wayne Drake is one of my favorite comic book characters as he takes on the mantel of one of my favorite super heroes Robin.  So seeing that my library had a few comics featuring Robin I  was all on top of it.  When I opened the book I was surprised to see a very classic and old school form of drawing.  Yellowed paper pages with a cartoonist style drawings rather than the clean smooth and digital images that I’ve gotten used to in a lot of comics.  This story is about in the middle of a story arch.

At this point Bruce Wayne is not in Gotham, Tim is having issues with his parents being dead or missing and in Bruce’s place in Gotham is a man named Paul who is filling in the role of Batman.  It was a decent read but it was different and I had little past experience with which to reference the context of the story.  This seems to be the start of Tim’s career in with Batman as he figures things out and stops crimes as Paul isn’t the best at the job that he is doing.

Really there isn’t much I can say about this comic but it was a decent read and I would give it a 3 out of 5 pages because it was decent but it wasn’t my usual for Tim and though I appreciate the old style drawings but it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

Book Review – Batman The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

Title: Batman The Killing Joke (Delux Edition)

Author:  Alan Moore

Illustrator: Brian Bolland

Format: Hardback

Published: 2008

Written: 1988

 

The Killing Joke is probably one of the most talked about and acclaimed Batman comics out there. It is highly appraised and turns a lot of people on their heads with what happened in this comic.  I on the other hand am not one of the masses.  It isn’t too often that I am part of the masses (at least I like to think so).  Anyway the Killing Joke is a possible origin story for the Joker.  It tells how the Joker became who he is, while he is acting in the present to try and prove a point, that all it takes is one bad day for a man to go mad.

As the story unfolds we learn that the Joker was a failed comedian trying to do just one job with the mafia to make a tidy wad of money to care for his wife and unborn child.  While this story unfolds we have the Joker having escaped the asylum to buy an amusement part in preparation for his latest and most dastardly plan which is to break Commissioner Gordon and cause him to go mad.

In the process Barbra Gordon who has also been acting as Batgirl unknown to the Commissioner was shot by the joker which is a turning point in her story as this is what leads her to become the Oracle as she becomes paralyzed from  the waist down.  At this point I do wish to apologize for any potential spoilers I may have leaked but really if you had read any later Batman or know a button about the Oracle who appears in a fair number of comics several which I have already reviewed.  You would know that this is what happened to her.  I feel that it is fairly common knowledge.

As the story presses on I find I am a little underwhelmed by the story in some respects, it was good and I kept turning the page with anticipation thinking something more would come but in a lot of ways it never did.  It was a good story don’t get my wrong and it was dark and twisted in some respects but not at the level I was expecting.  My best guess is that I was expecting so much due to the raves I’ve heard about it and so it fell short of my expectations.  In addition I feel that maybe it might have also fallen flat as I have seen and read worse things than what happened in this book, even among Batman related materials.  Don’t get me wrong what the Joker did was terrible and has the potential to break a man but I found it lacking in some way and almost anti-climatic.

Now with all that said, you must take into consideration when this book was published originally which was 1988 and then this would have been incredibly new and an absolute surprise to the readers and probably darker than most of the material that they were used to reading at least when it came to Batman and I can give them that and I cannot argue that this was a good read it just simply fell short of my expectations.   So in the end I am going to have to give the book a 3 out of 5 not because it was that poor and plain but because of my disappointment so to speak.  It is a good read and it was worth my time to read because now I know exactly what happened instead of going “I think this is what happened – from my understanding”.

Book Review – Batman Turning Points

Title: Batman Turning Points

Author: Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker and Chuck Dixon

Illustrator: Steve Lieber, Joe Giella, Dick Giordano, Bob Smith, Bret Anderson, Paul Pope, and Claude St. Aubin

Format: Paperback

Published: 2007

 

Despite my disappointment with the last Batman centric comic I read I decided to pick another one up as it features Jim Gordon in it.  Yes I have become a Gotham junkie and am loving the show, though I don’t know how far one can go in the city of Batman when Batman is a mere child but all the same the TV series peaked my interest in Jim Gordon and this comic explores the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon.  As the title of the book proclaims each store is about a turning point in the relationship of these two characters.

 

Each comic is its own stand alone story and you know that there are a lot of story that happens between each chapter.  So if you are new to Batman and don’t know a lot of over arching story you may want to avoid this comic in all.  The first chapter is really the start of the friendship between Batman and Jim Gordon before he was even the commissioner.  It was a rough time for the young Jim Gordon but because of it it helped to form the relationship between the two men as they have both lost much and can relate to one another.  The story goes on to a time where Jim is a fair bit older and he is struggling with the fact that Batman has taken on a young prodigy that is nothing more than a child.  The story covers some after math after the Killing Joke a and even the after math of when Bane broke Batman.  The story is interesting to say the least and it is quite gripping as you see the incredibly human side of Batman and Jim Gordon and over all it was a great story.

 

As a devoted fan of Batman, I loved the story and found it very difficult to put down.  It had my interest from the start and didn’t let go even if it jumped along the Batman time line it crafted a good story and showed the turning points of the relationship between Batman and Jim Gordon.  It was a strong story that had a nice conclusion.  If you are new to the Batman universe start somewhere else, anyone else this is a very worth read and I would give this comic a strong 4 out of 5 pages.

Book Review – Batman War Crimes

Title: Batman War Crimes

Authors: Anderson Gabrych, Devin Grayson, Bill Willingham, Bruce Jones, & Will Pfeifer

Format: Paperback

Published:  2006

 

I will start this review with a warning to readers that my next several reviews are going to be comics and manga as I went on a massive comic manga kick as they are quick and easy to read and I happen to really like them so bear with me during this time and I promise real books will come eventually!  Today I am presenting you with Batman War Crimes.  If you have read a lot of my reviews, you know that I am a big Batman fan particularly when it comes to the Boy Wonder Robin.  My affinity sits chiefly with Tim Drake also known as the Red Robin.  Considering that there isn’t a lot of Red Robin comics and a lot of other stories I have ventured out into other Batman and Robin comics, several of which I have not reviewed, for that I am sorry.

 

Anyway the back of this comic got my attention as this story takes place after the death of Stephanie Brown as Robin.  She was the next person to take on the role of Robin when Tim retired for a while from the cowl.  I had read the story where he retired and I would love to continue reading what happens there and I thought though I’m missing all of Stephanie Brown’s time as Robin this could be interesting this might be a really good comic!  I picked it off the library shelf and was excited to read it but it was nothing compared to the other comics I read.  Tim made an appearance but it wasn’t for long and it wasn’t a very strong or memorable story.

 

The gist of the story here is that Batman is getting blamed for Stephanie’s death and the death of other people as he is being framed for these other deaths as there is another person who is running around in the cowl pretending to be him.  This story follows Batman as he tries to get to the bottom of things and understand how and why Stephanie dies because it shouldn’t have happened.  It is to be honest a very dark time for the Bats as he deals with this and to me it is clear that he is dealing with a lot of guilt about the situation as well and thus becoming obsessed with his work.  To match and reflect the darkness of the story the drawing are very dark and gritty and the lines are very angular.  I’m not as fond of the artistic style found in this story.  There were really a lot of artists, letterers, inkers, and colorists involved with this story,  20 to be exact (this is why they are not listed in the specs about the book).

 

In short, I was not that enthused or gripped by the story like I have been with all other stories I have read of course this wasn’t focused on Robin and that might be the big difference as everything else I have read has a focus on Robin and I expected the same here to have a focus on a Robin.  So I will give this a 2 out of 5 pages as I wouldn’t really recommend this as a story to read or own.  It was what it was and I appreciate it for that but really you are not missing much if you skip this read in the overarching story of Batman and his Robins.  At the very least the plot important things found in this story can be easily picked up in other stories that have a much higher entertainment value than this comic.

Book Review – Robin: Search For A Hero by Fabian Nicieza, Freddie Williams II and Joe Bennett

Title: Robin: Search For A Hero

Author: Fabian Nicieza, Freddie Williams II and Joe Bennett

Format: Paper Back

Published: 2009

 

In my journey into the world of Batman and Comic books I’ve come to two conclusions, 1.  I have an obsession with Tim 2. I am practically destined to read the story in reverse order.  If you have been following my adventures in the world of Batman following the character Tim, you know I started toward the end by reading the Red Robin series before slipping back and reading Battle for the Cowl which occurs just before the start of Red Robin.  Well I stumbled upon a Robin comic book that focuses on Tim and it was an instant must read for me because it featured my favorite young detective Tim Drake Wayne.  It turns out that this random Robin book is the precursor to Battle for the Cowl.

 

When first looking at the book I admit I wasn’t that amazed by the art work.  I found the work of Marcus To in the Red Robin comics to be far superior. The position of Robin’s mask changed depending on the angle that he is drawn and the lines are a lot more angular and rough.  I admit I wasn’t sure on the book because of that alone but as I delved into the story the short comings of the art work were quickly forgotten.  This store quickly drew me in and I found myself having a hard time putting it down.

 

The story of Search for a Hero is about the fall out of what happens when Batman is gone.  Nightwing is left to deal with the major villains such as Penguin and Two Face while Robin found himself in charge of dealing with the up and rising gangs.  In addition to trying to control such a volatile group Robin has to face issues with betrayal from people that he has trusted in the past, facing off against Jason Todd a former Robin as well as someone parading around as Red Robin and a young man that wants to become his own personal Joker.  Everything seems to be unraveling and doing so quickly for Tim and you wonder how he is going to get through it all.

 

I was gripped by the mystery and intrigue of the story.  Also the humor that is played throughout the story was phenomenal as well.  The humor wasn’t over the top where I was rolling with giggles nor was it under played, it was woven in beautifully with the story and didn’t break the pace ever but had me actually laughing out loud a bit.  I think the best reference was when Tim compared the three Robins to the Brady sisters.

 

Overall, I truly enjoyed the read and will happily give this comic book a 4 out 5 pages and recommend this as a good read for any Robin or Tim fan.  In general it is a good story and it doesn’t expect you to know everything as most everything is explained in the story.

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